Automating Viral RNA Genotyping
News Feb 18, 2010
Designed and built for researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratories and UCLA - the new BioCel PCR Viral Genotyping System provides rapid, reliable and efficient automated genetic sequencing of viruses. The new system is shown to automatically sequence 40 RNA samples across 192 genes in just 11 hours. Using Agilent VWorks dynamic scheduling software, the system can sequence a minimum of 10,000 influenza viruses per year. In situations where viral outbreak reaches pandemic proportions, the throughput of the system can be doubled by running two shifts per day.
The BioCel System used in this application, comprising a variety of Agilent liquid handling options and third party devices including thermal cyclers, incubators and plate storage devices, was a dual robot system designed to optimally address the two steps of the PCR workflow. One side of the dual robot system was for reaction preparation and clean-up, the other side for running the actual PCR reaction. The system can be extended to address other components of the workflow including the upstream nucleic acid extraction step.
Animal venoms are the subject of study at research center based at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo. But in this case, the idea is not to find antidotes, but rather to use the properties of the venoms themselves to identify molecular targets of diseases and, armed with that knowledge, develop new compounds that can be used as medicines.